WBGO Journal

Saturday 6:30am - 7am

Hosted by Doug Doyle

The WBGO Journal is an award-winning half-hour news magazine that airs Saturdays at 6 am. Reports and analysis, informative interviews and features.

Kamilah Forbes
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The first major expansion of The Apollo in Harlem is underway, part of the iconic theater's 85th anniversary season. 

The Apollo's Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes spoke with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about the expansion and the upcoming show Twisted Melodies, a powerful one-man show based on the life of ’70s soul singer and composer Donny Hathaway.

The non-profit is expanding with a new theater, The Victoria, and becoming the Apollo Performing Arts Center.

Pamela Morgan for WBGO

Golden Globe winner Regina Taylor's Oo-Bla-Dee runs from June 8 through June 30 at Two River Theater.

Oo-Bla-Dee follows Evelyn Waters and the Diviners, an all-black, all-female jazz band, as they travel from St. Louis to Chicago in order to set up a record deal following the end of World War II.

Taylor joined Obie-Award-winning composer Diedre L. Murray (orginal music for Oo-Bla-Dee) and Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson on stage recently for a live panel discussion, hosted by WBGO News Director Doug Doyle.

Michael Bourne for WBGO

The Tony Awards soon will be awarded to the best of Broadway on June 7th at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

The Outer Critics Circle award winners were announced earlier this week, and our own Outer, Michael Bourne, actually voted for a few of the winners.

Click above to hear his review of the best and no so good musicals of the season.

The Controversy Over Drug Enforcement Experts in NJ

May 17, 2019
Drug Recognition Face Sheet
Joe Hernandez for WBGO News

Droopy eyelids. Dilated pupils. A racing pulse. More cops in New Jersey will be on the look-out for those symptoms in drivers if the state legalizes recreational marijuana.

State authorities are dramatically increasing the number of police officers trained to spot people under the influence of drugs. But a growing chorus of defense attorneys and criminal justice reformers say the methods these officers use are unscientific and should be banned from the courtroom.

Say you're at a bar … chances are you can spot the people who are drunk.


A grief support center for children recently opened in Newark.  

Imagine started in a Union County church basement in 2011, by a person that understood what it was like to lose a loved one at an early age. 

“I had been a child in grief.  My father died when I was 14,” said Mary Robinson, executive director of Imagine. The organization is now headquartered out of a dedicated center in Mountainside.

Theater Critic Michael Bourne reviews three shows by Sean O'Casey showing at The Irish Repertory Theater.

To hear his review click the link above. 

Check out WBGO's Music Calender for information on an upcoming event to meet Keith and Kathleen at Revolution Books this Saturday May 18 at 5pm for an all-ages reading, discussion and signing.

Birth of the Cool, is a legendary compilation of recordings from Miles Davis. It’s also the title of a new biography on the trumpeter, presented in the form of a children’s book by author Kathleen Cornell Berman.

T. Charles Erickson

Actress Joneice Abbott-Pratt is thoroughly enjoying her role as "Sally-Mae Carter" in Too Heavy for Your Pocket, the latest production at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.

Jireh Breon Holder's Too Heavy for Your Pocket won the prestigious 2017 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award and takes audiences to Nashville in the summer of 1961, when the Freedom Riders are embarking on a courageous journey into the Deep South.

Norma Miller

Choreographer, actress, author, comedian and Lindy Hop legend Norma Miller, known as the “Queen of Swing,” died at her home in Fort Meyers, Florida at the age of 99.

Longtime manager and caretaker John Biffar made the announcement earlier this week saying Miller was surrounded by loved ones and friends. “Norma overcame every obstacle with love. After twenty-five years in her company, at 99, she was still the coolest friend I ever had.”

Tribeca continues to be this blast of energy radiating from the downtown media hub on Varick Street,  including the Regal multiplex in Battery Park through the SVA Theatre on W. 23rd up through some events at the Beacon on the UWS. The festival opened with The Apollo, an HBO doc by Roger Ross Williams, about the life of one of the most vibrant showplaces in the world, over there on 125th St. 

Mildred Antenor
David Tallacksen for WBGO

WBGO commentator Mildred Antenor thinks women are making some poor choices these days and are throwing away their power as a result.

Mildred Antenor is the author of "The Gladioli Are Invisible: A Memoir" and a Seton Hall Professor. 

Click above to hear her thoughts.

Michael Bourne
David Tallacksen for WBGO

The Tony Awards event next month will be the official end of the New York theatre season --but the Tonys are not the only awards and, according to our theater critic Michael Bourne, even more theatre this season was happening OFF Broadway.

Click above to hear Michael's "Best".

Alvin AIley

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is celebrating its 60th anniversary season.  This year's NJPAC engagement is May 10-12 and features the New Jersey premiere of the Company's first two-act ballet, Lazarus from inaugural artist-in-residence Rennie Harris.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Artistic Director Robert Battle spoke with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about the upcoming performances.  Lazarus, inspired by the lifework of Alvin Ailey, will be performed on Friday and Saturday evenings, May 10 and May 11.

Anthony Ashnault

South Plainfield, New Jersey's Anthony Ashnault always dreamed of being an NCAA national champion in wrestling.  Those dreams became a reality in March of this year when the Rutgers University six-year senior defeated Ohio State's Micah Jordan  9-4 in the 149-pound final of the NCAA Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ashnault became Rutgers' second national champion.  His victory came less than a hour after his Scarlet Knights teammate, Nick Suriano won the NCAA title at 133 pounds.

What is the sound of Australian jazz? You'd be hard pressed to answer that question definitively, but one response can be heard on Insurgent, by trumpeter Mat Jodrell.

King Lear
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Shakespeare returns to Broadway with Dame Glenda playing King Lear. According to our theater critic Michael Bourne, gender-switching is becoming quite familiar in recent productions of Shakespeare.

King Lear is playing at the Cort Theatre and is directed by Sam Gold.

Click above to hear Michael Bourne's review of King Lear.

A Walk Into Slavery
The Billie Holiday Theatre

The World Premiere of A Walk Into Slavery, based on Hollis King's recent visit to Africa, was conceived and directed by Dr. Indira Etwaroo, the Executive Director of the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn.  

A Walk Into Slavery is a multi-media meditation about reconnecting with one's ancestor and redefining one's purpose. 

David Tallacksen / WBGO


Since WBGO’s inception, Mid-day Jazz host Rhonda Hamilton has been at the radio station.  A key part to WBGO’s success over the last 40 years.  

Click above to hear the entire conversation.  

Maureen Silliman
Two River Theater Company

Broadway veteran Maureen Silliman takes us into the mind and soul of one of America's greatest poets Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst, the latest production at Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey. 

Silliman sits down with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle to talk about why she loves this play and has enjoyed working again with Two River Theater founder Robert Rechnitz who is directing this version of The Belle of Amherst.

Dwayne Clark
Vanguard Theater Company

A Portrait of Ray, the brainchild of Dwayne Clark and his wife Janice Freeman Clark.  They wrote the show as a tribute to Ray Charles and it has been getting rave reviews ever since.  A Portrait of Ray will next appear at the Cutting Room, 44 E. 32nd St. in New York City Monday night April 22.

The Clarks came into WBGO to talk to News Director Doug Doyle.

The show takes audiences on an exhilarating journey back to 1967 at the height of Ray Charles' career and is set during a homecoming concert in Greenville, Florida.

All Our Children
The Sheen Center

Broadway shows have been opening night after night lately, before the deadline to qualify for the Tony Awards -- but theater critic Michael Bourne was nonetheless OFF-Broadway this week to attend two new plays.

Michael reviews All Our Children presented by The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture and Do You Feel Anger? at the Vineyard Theatre.

Click above to hear both reviews.

Brian Delp
David Tallacksen for WBGO


Jazz After Hours host Brian Delp has been entertaining listeners around the world on WBGO for more than 23 years.  Brian sat down with News Director Doug Doyle to talk about his favorite moments and why WBGO is so special to him.

Click above to hear the entire conversation.

The 25th Herb Alpert Award in the Arts is on May 13th in New York City. To honor the 125 Winners of the award who received $75,000 each from the Herb Alpert Foundation.

Ang Santos: The Herb Alpert Foundation has been supporting organizations that promote the arts for a few decades. Particularly in education arenas.  What prompted you to take such action?

Heidi Schreck
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Over the last several seasons, shows that have become hits OFF Broadway have relocated to bigger theatres ON Broadway.  Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews one, a new political comedy -- or is it a comedy?

The new play What the Constitution Means to Me is by and stars Heidi Schreck.

Click above to hear Michael's review.

Gary Walker
David Tallacksen for WBGO

WBGO celebrated its 40th birthday this past Wednesday.  WBGO's Alexandra Hill chats with the "Morning Maestro" Gary Walker who has been hosting programs on the greatest jazz station in the world for more than 37 of those amazing years.

Click above to hear his thoughts about the station's milestone.


Ang Santos: The point of this organization is self-explanatory, raising prostate cancer awareness with jazz, how do you go about doing that?

Ralph Stowe: Jazz creates a great atmosphere for people to trust any presentation, if it’s good jazz.  It starts the conversation for me to talk to men that may not know or are not aware of prostate cancer’s risk factors.  

AS:  Don’t you think it’s strange that in the 21stcentury, this still exists? That people don’t get screened at the age they probably should.

Ask Governor Murphy

New Jersey Govenor Phil Murphy and host Nancy Solomon took calls and social media questions on a number of topics during the most recent edition of Ask Governor Murphy, a WBGO News production in collaboration with WNYC and WHYY.

Ask Governor Murphy airs monthly.

Click above to hear the entire show.


On stage and on screens both big and small, Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a new name and an astonishing performer new to theater critic Michael Bourne.  Michael reviews her in off-Broadway's Fleabag.

The show is playing at the Soho Playhouse.

Fleabag, which is written by and stars Waller-Bridge with direction by Vicky Jones, is in the U.S. following acclaimed runs in the U.K. and a subsequent television adaptation from the BBC.

Courtesy of the artist

The New Jersey Jazz Society holds its 50th annual Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp concert on Sunday, April 7.

Political icon and former Newark mayor Kenneth Gibson died on March 29 in West Orange, at 86.